Call for Participation for International Conference Play / Perform / Participate of the International Society for Intermedial Studies in Utrecht

Play / Perform / Participate – Intermedial Intersections

The 2nd Bi-annual Conference of the International Society for Intermedial Studies
Utrecht, The Netherlands, 16-18 April, 2015

In today’s mediatized culture and society, we use media for playing, performing, and participating in artistic practices but also in larger processes of cultural reproduction, social integration and socialization. The aim of the conference is to discuss the intermedial valences of play, performance and participation as increasingly intersecting practices.

By a mediatized culture and society we mean our contemporary world as it is to a large extent constituted by media rather than merely being represented by them. Media are intrinsically intra-related. From a historical perspective, however, we may observe that they increasingly function within larger contexts of media constellations, configurations, and networks (i.e. ecosystems, assemblages, mesh works). We use media to connect to the world and to stage ourselves in front of others with whom we create and share our world. And this, in turn, occurs through the interplay of different yet interrelated media.
We understand media, here, in a broad sense: ranging from technologies to institutionalized practices and from art forms to interfaces. Play refers to those forms of rule-guided behavior and action engaged in for the sake of sensual or cultural pleasure. In the context of our contemporary world, this refers not only to literally playing with different media, but also to the playfulnessinherent in the media literacy required by our mediatized culture and society. Perform – as in both performance and performativity – articulates pragmatic aspects of world-making and staging as these pre-eminently occur in our mediatized culture and society. Moreover, this concept includes the self-referentiality and self-reflexivity that the double consciousness of being a performer and/or an audience implies. Participate relates to how media provide us with means of communication and interaction and how we, in turn, inform such media. In terms of access, interest and power, media play a decisive role in constructing identities and citizenship and, consequently, in processes of inclusion and exclusion.

We may observe that what we do with media is what media more and more seem to “do” with each other: they play (with) each other, they perform (with) each other and they participate with and in each other. The intermedial valences of playing, performing and participating in a mediatized culture and society relate to media objects, media practices and media concepts.

With this call we invite panel, paper and round table contributions that address the three main concerns of the conference: a critical approach to the intersections of ‘play’, ‘perform’ and ‘participate’, and an explicit engagement with their related artistic, cultural and social practices as they occur in and through old and new media constellations. Finally, we invite respondents to consider the methodological implications of an intermedial approach within the framework of ‘play’, ‘perform’ and ‘participate’.

Disciplines represented at the conference may include (but are not limited to): Media Studies, Visual Arts, Theatre and Performance Studies, Literary Studies, Cultural Studies, Anthropology, Architecture and Design, Communication, Geography & Urban Studies, Politics and International Relations, Public Policy, and Sociology.

We ask presenters to take the theme of the conference – play / perform / participate – to heart and encourage alternative formats of presentation that are playful, performative and participatory!

 Proposals for papers, pre-constituted panels, or round tables can be submitted by sending the submission form (to be downloaded  on as an attachment to with the subject line “paper/panel/roundtable proposal isis2015”. Deadline for submissions is October 15th, 2014, acceptances will be sent out December 1st, 2014.

 The conference is hosted by Utrecht University and organized in co-operation with the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the HKU University of the Arts Utrecht.

 Keynote speakers and key works will be announced soon on